The Fortune Society scraps planned men’s re-entry facility in Morrisania

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The Fortune Society has scrapped its plan for a re-entry facility on Washington Avenue in Morrisania that would’ve housed 74 men experiencing homeless and in need of post-incarceration housing.
Photo courtesy Getty Images

The Fortune Society has withdrawn its application for a re-entry facility that would’ve housed 74 men who are homeless or in need of post-incarceration housing in the Morrisania section, after pushback from local elected officials and community members who cited an overabundance of such facilities already in the district.

The planned facility, which proposed its siting at 1209 Washington Ave. in the Bronx’s Community District 3, was decided to be an unsuitable location by the nonprofit after additional consideration, addressing residential concerns that the district already has its fill of transitional and supportive housing units.

“We had wanted to locate a new transitional housing program for formerly incarcerated individuals at 1209 Washington Avenue, given our existing presence and investment in the community,” the nonprofit said in a statement. “However, since presenting the plan at the Community Board meeting, we have come to understand that 1209 Washington Avenue is not a suitable location. The district is one that already has accepted its fair share of affordable and supportive housing.”

The oversaturation of temporary living facilities and homeless shelters has become a divisive issue for Bronx politicos, community boards and residents amid rising homelessness and displacement in the borough.

In the Morris Park section of the East Bronx, another Fortune Society proposal has also caused a bit of an uproar. The nonprofit’s Just Home proposal to provide supportive housing to people released from prison on the grounds of Jacobi Hospital has faced significant protest from community members and elected officials alike.

Councilmember Althea Stevens, whose district includes Morrisania and also Mt. Eden — where a planned shelter for 1298 Inwood Ave. has also been a contentious point for her constituents — has been vocal about the city’s reliance on temporary living facilities, in lieu of long-range affordable housing in the area.

“This is a direct result of the unifying power of community members,” said Stevens.  “It is vital we are working in partnership with city agencies to ensure we introduce housing projects that will have components to promote economic development, permanent housing, workforce development and community uplift, like other parts of the city.”

Community Board 3 has been a heavy siting ground for these types of projects. In the West Bronx — a four-community district region that also includes Fordham, Belmont, Bedford Park and Kingsbridge — there are 63 temporary living facilities within the area’s 21.23 square-mile limits.

“The community as a whole is happy to say that they were heard regarding why they were not in support of this location to house 74 males who are homeless or require post-release housing,” said Etta Ritter, the CB3 district manager. “The Fortune Society is a leading service provider in providing successful reentry services that promote incarceration alternatives. We are incredibly grateful for their careful consideration and thoughtful judgment.”

Reach Robbie Sequeira at or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.